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Mazda CX-30 review

The Mazda CX-30 SUV sits between Mazda’s CX-3 and CX-5. It’s well equipped and can be had with Mazda’s frugal new Skyactiv-X petrol engine, but it’s a bit tight for space.

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Mazda CX-30: what would you like to read next?

Is the Mazda CX-30 a good car?

Mazda is not known for following the crowd, but it is in one respect these days, and the Mazda CX-30 is a prime example.

You see, many car makers (we’re looking at you, Audi) have adopted the Russian doll approach to vehicle styling, where their cars look much the same, just different sizes. So it is with Mazda’s SUV line-up. You could open up a CX-5 and find the Mazda CX-30 nestling inside. Crack the CX-30 apart, and out would tumble a CX-3.

Just as well, then that they all look fantastic. This is handy, because the CX-30 needs to fend off stylish SUV competition such as the Audi Q3, BMW X2 and Seat Ateca.

The Mazda CX-30 comes with the choice of two petrol engines, both 2.0-litres in size. The first is a 122hp four-cylinder, while the one we’ve driven is a 180hp four-cylinder with clever technology that means in theory, it has the smoothness of a petrol, but the low down pull of a diesel engine and lower CO2 emissions.

In practice, it isn’t quite like that, and while it’s certainly a decent motor it isn’t quite the motoring nirvana promised.

For a start, it sounds a bit rough and ready both at idle and when you’re accelerating hard through the gears. Unfortunately, the Skyactiv-X motor doesn’t quite have the torque of the turbocharged engines in rivals, so you’ll need to rev it quite hard fairly often. Just as well, then, that the standard six-speed manual gearbox is a gem, with a light, snappy shift.

The engine also settles down quite nicely when you’re just cruising along the motorway.

The CX-30 looks like the love child of a CX-3 and CX-5 – it looks great. It drives well, too, but the ride's a bit choppy.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

Away from motorways, the steering is sharp, and the car changes direction well, although the downside of such quick responses is a ride quality that is a little on the ‘sporty’ side for such a family SUV.

That said, the CX-30 stacks up well on paper with a CO2 output of 133g/km and average economy of 47.9mpg.

Five trims are on offer: SE-L, SE-L Lux, Sport Lux, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech. All come well equipped, but the pick is SE Lux because it’s still sensibly priced, but adds some choice equipment that’s worth stumping up for over the entry-level SE-L.

The cabin is decently spacious up front, but rear leg room is pretty tight, and getting into and out of the back seat requires more contortion that we’d like.

There are 430 litre of boot space, but to put that in context, a Seat Ateca has 510 litres.

If you want a great deal on a Mazda CX-30, why not check out our Mazda deals pages?

How practical is it?

Life’s great if you’re one of the two people up front, but it isn’t so rosy if you’re consigned to the rear seats.

Boot (seats up)
422 - 430 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,398 - 1,406 litres

There’s plenty of space up front for two hefty adults. There’s little chance of their heads rubbing the roof lining, and the seats go back far enough to accommodate even the lankiest of legs. Shame that lumbar adjustment is only available on the top two trim levels.

However, those in the rear seat are likely to feel like those up front don’t like them very much, because the rear quarters are a bit cramped. For a start, the small doors make getting into and out of the back tricky, and make fitting a child seat pretty awkward.

Once you’re in there, the legroom is pretty tight, even though there’s enough headroom. However, the roofline slopes down towards the rear doors, so you might find yourself sitting with your head at a slight angle, especially if there are two others in the rear seat with you. The rear windows are pretty small, too, which gives it a ‘hemmed-in’ feel.

The centre passenger shouldn’t feel too hard done by though, because there’s no central tunnel for them to straddle.

Up front at least, there’s a decent array of storage areas, including a couple of decent-sized cupholders ahead of the gearlever. In front of those lies a flat tray into which you can shove your smartphone or day-to-day detritus.

If that isn’t enough, there’s also a storage area hidden under the central armrest.

The front doors also contain a couple of good-sized door pockets with reasonably big bottle holders.

TRIP! That’s the sound of a stumbling block, because the 430-litre boot in the CX-30 is quite a bit smaller than those of its immediate rivals, such as the 510-litre Seat Ateca.

At least access is made easier by the standard-fit electrically powered tailgate.

The boot floor sits at a fixed height, however, and this is below that of the boot lip, so heaving luggage in and out isn’t as easy as it might be.

What's it like to drive?

The Skyactiv-X engine is pretty efficient and good on fuel, but it isn’t particularly strong and tends to grumble a bit when asked to work hard.

There are two engines available. First up is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that develops 122hp and 213Nm of torque. It’s comparatively economical with an average figure of 45.6mpg, and its CO2 output of 141g/km is fair.

Performance is adequate, with the 0-62mph being covered in 10.6 seconds, and the CX-30 having a top speed of 116mph.

Mazda has also released another 2.0-litre petrol engine, called Skyactiv-X. This is said to have the efficiency of a diesel with the driving characteristics of a petrol.

It generates 180hp and 224Nm of torque, and allows the CX-30 to cover the 0-62mph dash in 8.5 seconds before going on to a top speed of 127mph.

It’s more economical than the lower-powered engine, at an average of 47.9mpg, while CO2 output is 133g/km.

We’ve driven the higher-powered Skyactiv-X motor, which is said to be as efficient as a diesel and as fun as a petrol.

In practice, it isn’t quite like that; it’s good, but it isn’t brilliant.

It sounds all a bit gruff both at idle and when you’re revving it hard. Unfortunately, the Skyactiv-X motor doesn’t quite have the torque of the turbocharged engines in rivals, so you’ll need to rev it quite hard fairly often. Just as well, then, that the standard six-speed manual gearbox has a light, snappy shift.

The engine also settles down quite nicely when you’re just cruising along the motorway.

Away from motorways, the steering is sharp, and the car changes direction well, although the downside of such quick responses is a ride quality that is a little on the ‘sporty’ side for such a family SUV.

What's it like inside?

It’s beautifully designed and superbly built. Sadly, some kit is reserved for only the top two trims.

Mazda CX-30 colours

Solid - Arctic white
Free
Metallic - Platinum quartz
From £570
Metallic - Polymetal grey
From £570
Metallic - Sonic silver
From £570
Mica - Deep crystal blue
From £570
Mica - Jet black
From £570
Pearl - Snowflake white
From £570
Premium metallic - Machine grey
From £690
Special metallic - Soul red crystal
From £810
Next Read full interior review
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